John Bean is a perfectly good company that is being valued as a great one. It is comprised of two distinct segments-- Foodtech, which makes processing equipment for food processors (poultry processors, vegetable canning, etc.) and Aerotech, which makes boarding bridges for airports. Both these businesses have been growing around 5% recently, but are highly cyclical-- it took until 2014 to re-attain 2007 revenue levels, and that included some acquisition activity.
While the market clearly liked today’s earnings, they seemed lackluster to me:
1% rev beat, also very low by historical standards, and partly consensus was too low since analysts didn’t update for 2 intra quarter acquisitions (9m of newly acquired revs in the quarter; they beat by 4m).
Backlog ok, but book/bill 1.0 in food (flat sequentially), 1.2 in aero (down from 1.3 last quarter). Given the acquisitions, backlog should have grown. Backlog/revs for food is actually declining last few quarters, while aerospace is up in last few quarters but flat with a year ago. Food is a higher multiple so the net of this is negative.
If you back out food acquisitions in the last 8 quarters, my calculated growth rate for their core food business is below management’s stated organic growth:
It is tough to find comps for their Aerotech group, but I think this is clearly just an OK business—their customers are airlines after all. I have generously applied 15x LTM EBIT here to get a value of $540m. This implies the remaining foodtech business is being valued at 27.5x forward EBIT, a healthy premium to comps at 12-17x EBIT. If this division were valued at 17x, the stock would trade at $70:
In my mind, there was nothing surprising or exciting about today’s earnings release, and the stock should retrace. Longer-term, investors should question why they are paying record multiples on peak earnings:
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sell-side downgrades (avg target price of $109)